Canadian-owned Liberty Living snaps up another set of student digs and becomes second-largest provider of student homes in the UK

Hayley Kirton
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The company is now the second-largest provider of student accommodation in the UK (Source: Getty)

Liberty Living today completed a deal for another 13 properties, making it the second largest student home provider in the UK.

The student accommodation provider purchased the residences, which are spread out across UK, Germany and Spain and add around another 6,500 beds to the company's portfolio, from Blackstone for £460m.

The purchase has not only provided Liberty, which itself was bought by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in March 2015, with a footprint in continental Europe, but also brings its total portfolio up to around 25,000 beds. In the UK, it now only lags behind sector giant Unite in size.

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"We have ambitious growth plans to meet the changing demands of the student community," said David Shearer, executive chairman of Liberty Living. "We are focused on expanding our branded, service driven business through acquisitions and developments in key markets.

"Liberty is committed to providing high quality residences, with first class services, and I am delighted to complete this significant milestone in our development."

The newly-acquired portfolio includes sites in student hotspots Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield, as well as a potential development site in London.

Read more: Sales of UK homes have reached a 10-year high

The deal, which was announced last December but formally completed today, was funded through CPPIB's wholly owned subsidiary, CPPIB Liberty Living. Since it bought the accommodation provider two years ago, CCPIB has funded over £800m worth of acquisitions.

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) suggest an upward trend in student numbers in the UK. According to statistics released last September, which is the peak time for new students to join university, UCAS had placed almost 522,000 students in university so far that year, up 7,000 students, or one per cent, on the same figure for September 2015.

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